Navel piercings take roughly six months to one year to heal completely. Changing the jewelry in a navel piercing, commonly called a belly button piercing, too soon will result in complications in the piercing. Navel piercings swell in the beginning of the healing process, and changing the jewelry too soon will result in the shorter, new jewelry becoming embedded in the piercing from the skin swelling over. Changing the jewelry in a piercing that has an infection is not advised, for the process of changing the jewelry causes the piercing to become more irritated.
Ensure that your navel ring is ready to be changed. Visit the professional piercer that originally pierced you to make sure the swelling has subsided completely and an infection is not present.
Purchase navel jewelry only from a licensed, professional tattoo or piercing shop. Buying jewelry from the Internet or clothing stores can result in allergic reactions as the jewelry may contain a higher nickel content. The jewelry in professional tattoo and piercing shops is made with a higher grade of metals such as stainless steel, titanium and niobium, which are safe for placement in the body.
Wash hands with a mild soap and warm water. Clean the navel piercing and jewelry with warm water and mild soap as well. Remove any crusts from dried fluids from the jewelry by softening them with the soap and water, and then rub the jewelry gently. The crusts are sharp and hard and will tear the inside of the piercing when removing the jewelry, resulting in irritation. Remove the existing navel ring from the belly button piercing.
Place a small dab of soap on the end of the navel ring after unscrewing the ball on the top. Insert the navel ring into the bottom hole of the piercing. Grip the bottom of the ring and push firmly through the top hole of the piercing. Hold the bottom part of the ring and screw the top ball back onto the ring.
Keep hands away from the piercing even after the piercing is healed to avoid introducing bacteria to the piercing.
Clean the piercing daily in the shower with a mild soap and water and avoid harsh chemicals such as alcohol and hydrogen peroxide.
Do not share jewelry with friends or family without having a professional piercer sterilize the jewelry in an autoclave first.
- Keep hands away from the piercing even after the piercing is healed to avoid introducing bacteria to the piercing.
- Clean the piercing daily in the shower with a mild soap and water and avoid harsh chemicals such as alcohol and hydrogen peroxide.
- Do not share jewelry with friends or family without having a professional piercer sterilize the jewelry in an autoclave first.
Maude Coffey retired after 10 years working as a professional body modification artist in the tattoo industry. She is certified in principles of infection control and blood-borne pathogens. Coffey received additional training and classes, such as anatomy, jewelry standards and aftercare, from the Association of Professional Piercers. Coffey aims to educate about safe tattooing and piercing practices while writing for various websites.